The FVA-WASP Gunship (Weapons Assault and Support Platform), or simply Wasp, was a VTOL aerial combat vehicle used before, during and after the Swarm War by both the UNSC and The Royal Allegiance. In its extensive combat history it saw use in more battles than any other craft due to its versatile nature, many uses and adaptability. It formed the staple of air support for over two centuries in one form or another.
Introduced in 2604, the essential design and concept for the Wasp stemmed from the older AV-14 Hornet, which was finally retired in 2607. Work started in 2592 on the Hornet's replacement, and reached fruition twelve years later with the WASP replacing the Hornet in stages over a period of three years. It almost immediately gained a reputation for its agility, superb weapons complement and near-invulnerability to small-arms fire. The design was heavily assisted by The Royal Allegiance, allowing for a massive improvement in weaponry and technology. In return the Allegiance gained access to a fast, well-armed platform capable of a vast range of combat roles. The Wasp continued to be utilised in many functions throughout the Swarm War, which ravaged the galaxy from 2733 until its conclusion in 2878. Despite its advanced age towards the latter stages of the war, the Wasp continued to be relied upon heavily, perhaps more so, due in part to its ease of construction and maintenance and in part to more advanced units being tied up fighting or lost to The Swarm.
The Wasp's primary role was to provide close range air support from a VTOL platform, similar to the Hornet. However, it was capable against enemy armour, infantry and even, to a certain extent, fortifications. It could engage ground forces of almost any type with immunity, not to mention slow hostile air units such as dropships. As extremely versatile and potent units, they could be put to use on almost any battlefield task including scouting, support, close-in fire support, anti-armour, anti-emplacement, anti-infantry, and some anti-air roles. The Wasp was known for its efficiency in combat situations; its multi-purpose role allowed for a wide array of tasks the Wasp could perform without any major problems. In its role as an attack craft the Wasp was very effective at hunting down and destroying armour with relative ease; the THOR missiles could take down the toughest armour in only a few strikes, making it a prime choice for hunting down tanks. Its ability to engage infantry also made the Wasp both an offensive and defensive aircraft; the four .50cal machine guns could take down heavily armored and shielded targets with relative ease, and its ability to place itself in a stationary position to lay down cover fire while a larger craft retrieves fellow infantry also allowed it to perform its role as a support craft. The firepower on the craft was also an added bonus when escorting other aircraft into dangerous territory that could be susceptible to ground fire.
Very similar in layout to the Hornet, the Wasp was remained recognisable as a descendant of the AV-14 line. The Wasp features a nose-mounted sensor package, the same as the Hornet. The single-occupant cockpit took up a large portion of the fuselage, which was flanked by two hardpoint wing pylons. Ten 15-tube rocket launchers hung beneath each wing, and on the ends, four air-to-air missiles each. The Gunship featured two forward landing skids, beneath which four .50cal machine guns were mounted on pivots. Stemming from the top of the craft were two large vector thrust fans, capable of providing the same thrust as the Hornet's vector thrust turboshafts in a smaller and less energy-intensive form. Each fan was actually made up of two counter-rotating rotors that provided a large amount of lift. Integrated into the back of the fuselage were two T66-HS Turboshafts, which provided a massive linear speed to the craft and enhanced its agility. Extending from the rear of the fuselage was a large tail, which ended in two broad flat independently tilting fins. This further aided the craft's already superb maneuverability. They had an operational range of just under 700km and a flight ceiling of around 5km.
The Wasp's primary armament was its four .50cal machine guns, which had a cyclic rate of fire of 700 rounds per minute each. Mounted beneath the craft's forward landing skids on pivots, they moved to face each target as the pilot either designated them on his HUD or moved his/her head to face the target. The machine guns were the craft's primary close range weapons.
The Wasp also carried 150 WASP Air-to-Surface missiles or THOR Multi-Purpose Missiles, carried in ten 15-tube rocket launchers carried underneath the wing pylons. Also carried on the hardpoints were eight INTERCEPTOR air-to-air missiles for engaging aerial targets.
The Wasp was critically vulnerable to fast-moving aerial vehicles such as fighters. In addition, SAMs or AAMs could usually dispatch a Wasp in a single impact or near-impact. Due to their high speed, agility and small size, they were vulnerable to any kind of explosive weapons and Wasps rarely survived hits from high velocity cannons of anything over 45mm. AAA batteries could easily shoot down a stationary Wasp, though a moving one was considerably harder to hit. The Wasp did not benefit from any kind of stealth features whatsoever. However, its mission profile dictated that these would be unnecessary and would simply add to the cost.
The Wasp saw frequent use by the UNSC combating the various warlord-led Brute factions. With the Allegiance, the craft first saw action during the Battle of Radiance in 2614. Although the battle was a total loss for the Allegiance, the Wasp was one of the few units able to hold its own in combat against the Swarm, probably due to its armour-piercing weaponry and wide range of roles. The Wasp saw action in every major ground engagement of the Swarm War, including early conflicts such as the Battle of Aurelia and the Battle of Miranda.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- The images for this article come from Avatar's Scorpion Gunship.
|Vehicles of The Royal Allegiance during the Swarm War|
Close Air Support and Transports